A storm can cause severe damage even to the sturdiest of trees. In mild cases, your tree might have a few fallen branches and a load of leaves torn off by the winds. On the other hand, in severe cases, your tree might need to be removed from the ground entirely.
However, there is always a chance of saving your tree from further damage or total removal. After a storm, here are some pointers you can follow:
1. Call an arborist
An arborist is a tree specialist that offers services such as insect control and storm damage. If dealing with the tree by yourself is risky, call in a professional instead. They have the skills and equipment necessary to deal with the damage properly. Don't try to approach large, hanging branches or move the trunk to avoid causing further damage or injuring yourself.
2. Prune the tree
For small branches, you can prune them yourself to prevent disease and pests from settling into the tree. Remove the damaged branches to the point where they join a larger branch using an appropriate tool, such as pruning shears or a pole pruner. Moreover, make sure these tools are clean to avoid transferring any potential diseases to the tree's wounds.
3. Smooth out damaged bark
If there are areas on the tree where the bark has been torn off by the storm, smooth out the edges with a clean chisel or knife. This is done to prevent insects from using the jagged edges as hiding spots, as well as to make the tree look better.
When removing damaged bark, be careful not to remove the healthy bark to avoid exposing the live tissue underneath. If you're not confident with your skills, it's better to leave it to a professional.
4. Don't top the tree
Topping a tree means cutting its main branches back into stubs, which is not a good idea after a storm. For one, topping a tree will lead to weakly grown branches that will fare no better in the next storm. Moreover, topping reduces the tree's foliage, which is essential for its nutrition while healing from the storm damage.
If less than half of your tree's canopy is damaged, it will likely be fine. However, if more than half of the canopy is damaged, call a professional to assess the situation and determine whether or not the top of your tree should be removed.
5. Remove fallen leaves
Wet, fallen leaves can suffocate the ground surrounding your tree and make it harder for its roots to acquire nutrition that it desperately needs for healing. Thus, after the storm passes, it is crucial to remove as much of the fallen leaves as you can to allow the ground to breathe.
Just as it is essential to take good care of your tree after a storm, it is also crucial to prepare it way before the winds start picking up. Thus, if you expect a storm to arrive in your area, prepare your tree by covering it, staking the branches to the ground, and pruning excess limbs that might break during the storm.